Bryant and May on the Loose by Christopher Fowler
26 February, 2010
I thought I’d be kind to myself after my holiday and slowly ease back into normal life by choosing Bryant and May on the Loose by Christopher Fowler. I wanted to savour the book and revel in Fowler’s extensive knowledge of London. But someone had reserved it at my library and I had to zip through it in a couple of days. Never mind, Fowler always delivers and I still enjoyed it tremendously.
Originally planned to comprise six books, Fowler’s legion of fans including myself leapt with joy when we found out that due to popular demand, the series has been extended. From the very first book, Fowler’s stories hark back to the golden age of mystery but updated to modern London. I love the way he introduces the esoteric, the fantastic and the electronic and binds them together with an intricate plot, all the while presenting us with some wonderful characters who are funny, whimsical, flawed and very human.
In this, the seventh volume in the series, we are re-united with Arthur Bryant & John May, although the Peculiar Crimes Unit has been disbanded at the end of book 6, The Victoria Vanishes. However, strange goings-on in King’s Cross including a former member of the PCU finding a headless corpse in a freezer at the back of a kebab joint coupled with sightings of a mythical beast with razor-sharp antlers pique the interest of Bryant and May and the PCU is granted a lease of life to tidy up this hiccup in the regeneration of King’s Cross. Failure to do so would mean heads would roll and severe repercussions all the way to the highest levels of the Establishment.
The seediness which can’t quite be erased from King’s Cross, the ever-changing landscape of building work around the station which hides so much history and secrets and the myth of the antlered beast who will rise again to protect the land is something many Londoners are familiar with. But Fowler’s depiction of his two senior detectives and their colourful colleagues racing against time to unmask the highly intelligent murderer makes this a delightful and thoughtful read.
I was a little heart-broken towards the end, but perked up considerably to find that Bryant and May Off the Rails will be published in June 2010.
For those of you who aren’t acquainted with Bryant and May, you may wish to reconsider and start with the first book in the series, Full Dark House. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I’m submitting this book for the Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010.